Microsoft Developing Low-Cost Xbox Streaming Dongle That Could Rival Apple TV

In news that could weigh heavily on the future success of Apple TV, Microsoft has confirmed it is working to bring an affordable streaming device to market that would allow users to play Xbox games without the need for a full-blown console.

xbox series x controller microsoft
It has been suggested for years that Microsoft wants to make gaming accessible to more people by cutting out the need to invest in a pricey console. The Xbox Cloud Gaming platform, which works on many devices including iPhone and iPad, is the company's software-based answer to that challenge, but it appears Microsoft isn't stopping there.

Speaking to Windows Central, Microsoft revealed it is actively working on new Xbox hardware. Codenamed "Keystone," the streaming device sounds similar to Chromecast and Google Stadia in that it will connect to any TV or monitor via HDMI, allowing users to tap into Microsoft's vast games catalog, as well as any other streaming content it chooses to host.

The company didn't provide any more details about the dongle or a potential launch date, but said that it had recently taken the decision to "pivot away" from its original vision for the device, which would allow it to "deliver Xbox Cloud Gaming to more players around the world in the future."

Along with access to triple-A console games, Microsoft's device is likely to double as a set-top box on which users can access popular streaming services as well as the company's own media apps like Microsoft Movies & TV.

Apple at one point was working on a low-cost ‌Apple TV‌ dongle, but those plans have been abandoned. Apple is now planning to launch a new version of the Apple TV in the second half of 2022, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo believes that the new ‌Apple TV‌ will have an improved cost structure, which suggests a lower price point than the current ‌Apple TV‌ (from $179) that is more competitive with other streaming media players.

Whatever the next iteration of ‌Apple TV‌ looks like, Apple's subscription-based gaming platform Apple Arcade will struggle to compete with a Microsoft dongle that can stream titles including Fortnite, Halo, Need for Speed, The Sims, and many other popular Xbox games.

Top Rated Comments

matt_and_187_like_this Avatar
23 months ago
The current Apple TV is such a delusional product at this point that it has no competition. The XBOX Series S already beats it. It's almost the same price and it comes with a controller and 500GB of storage. So what do you want: A current-gen gaming console or a box that does the same stuff your smart TV already does
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JustSomebody12 Avatar
23 months ago
Apple would have boosted Apple TVs sales a lot if they had allowed cloud gaming on it.

Especially during the console shortages' peak.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Bustycat Avatar
23 months ago
Apple TV is not qualified to be a rival of Xbox.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jim Lahey Avatar
23 months ago
Apple TV doesn’t set the bar very high as a rival. It’s pretty decent if you live solely inside Apple’s bubble and don’t mind half-baked media software with zero library management features, but that’s about where it ends. It’s functional at best and really not that great at any one thing. Should be half the price they ask for it.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Pezimak Avatar
23 months ago
Firstly, no this won’t be challenging the Apple TV, it will be focused on game streaming, something the Apple TV can't do, and secondly it’ll cost a hell of a lot less then the Apple TV.

And for those claiming it will fail, I suggest you take a look at the games market, Xbox has been rather successful at that since Game Pass launched.. it isn’t going to fail against Apple because they aren’t even competing against Apple. It’s like claiming every single phone is competing with the Apple TV because they have streaming apps on them.

EDIT: I say this as a happy 2021 Apple TV4K and Xbox Series X owner.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WiiDSmoker Avatar
23 months ago

Microsoft also developed a portable music system to rival the iPod. That went well.

Stick to making proper consoles Microsoft, you do it well.
Congratulations on living 20 years in the past.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Apple car wheel icon feature yellow

Apple Cancels Electric Car Project

Tuesday February 27, 2024 11:05 am PST by
Apple has canceled all plans to release an autonomous, electric vehicle, reports Bloomberg. Apple has been working on an Apple Car for more than a decade and invested millions of dollars into development before deciding it was not a viable project. Apple's Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams today told approximately 2,000 employees working on the Apple Car that the project was canceled,...
iOS 18 Mock iPhone 16 Feature Gray

iOS 18 Rumored to Be Compatible With These iPhone Models

Tuesday February 27, 2024 6:31 am PST by
iOS 18 will be compatible with the iPhone XR, and thereby also the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max models with the same A12 Bionic chip, according to a post on X today from a private account with a proven track record of sharing build numbers for upcoming iOS updates. The post was spotted by MacRumors contributor Aaron Perris, and it has since been deleted. However, this was likely because the...
iOS 17

iOS 17.4 Coming Soon With These New Features for Your iPhone

Monday February 26, 2024 6:08 am PST by
In a press release last month, Apple confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released in March, and the update includes several new features and changes for the iPhone. Key new features in iOS 17.4 include major App Store changes in the EU, Apple Podcasts transcripts, and an iMessage security upgrade. The update also adds new emoji and includes preparations for the launch of next-generation CarPlay...
iPad Air 5

iPadOS 18 Rumored to Drop Support for These iPad Models

Tuesday February 27, 2024 6:55 am PST by
iPadOS 18 will drop support for iPad models equipped with the A10X Fusion chip, according to a post on X today from a private account with a proven track record of sharing build numbers for upcoming iOS and iPadOS updates. This means that iPadOS 18 would not be compatible with the first-generation 10.5-inch iPad Pro or the second-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro models released in 2017. It...
applearcade

Game Developers Describe 'Smell of Death' Around Apple Arcade

Monday February 26, 2024 7:24 am PST by
Some game developers are dissatisfied with Apple Arcade amid concerns about the subscription service's future, a new report claims. Sources speaking to mobilegamer.biz described a "smell of death" around Apple's games subscription service and noted the difference between the company's investment in TV and music, and its interest in games. "At the very top of the company there needs to be a ...
Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID Single Camera Hole

Six Reasons to Wait for Next Year's iPhone 17

Thursday February 22, 2024 4:20 am PST by
Apple's iPhone development roadmap runs several years into the future and the company is continually working with suppliers on several successive iPhone models concurrently, which is why we sometimes get rumored feature leaks so far ahead of launch. The iPhone 17 series is no different, and already we have some idea of what to expect from Apple's 2025 smartphone lineup. If you plan to skip...
Google maps feaure

Google Maps Finally Rolls Out Glanceable Directions

Wednesday February 28, 2024 2:07 am PST by
After more than a year since announcing the feature, Google Maps is finally rolling out glanceable directions on Android and iOS (via Android Police). The feature allows users to view turn-by-turn directions and a live ETA directly from their device's lock screen – information that was previously only visible when a phone was unlocked. Glanceable directions also work on the app's route...